Wang Zhenmin, the top legal official at Beijing’s Hong Kong Liaison Office, speaks to the United Front-linked Asia Pacific Law Association. He acknowledges that the Office meddled in the recent Legislative Council election (rather disastrously, though he doesn’t dwell on it). And he makes the predictable thunderous mouth-frothing denunciations of Hong Kong independence, saying it is totally impossible for a thousand years but since you ask would cause apocalyptic doom to Hong Kong itself while the rest of China would barely notice, so there. Complete with garbled ‘illness’ metaphor.
The Chinese Communist Party does not do public contrition, so we would not expect Wang to suggest that Beijing should perhaps revise its attitude to Hong Kong – listen more and hysterically freak out less. And sure enough, he sticks to the standard script, while introducing and emphasizing some refinements to the official argument.
The Communist Party is infallible, so anything that goes wrong must be someone else’s fault. Officials have previously blamed dissatisfaction in Hong Kong on local people’s ignorance (of China, the Basic Law, or whatever) or on evil hostile foreign forces. The rise of localism has recently prompted the development of a slightly different line: Hong Kong people are unhappy/frustrated/resentful because of Mainland China’s economic rise. There is no logic to it, but it neatly avoids any recognition that Beijing has screwed up with its feudalistic ‘big brother’ attitude.
Are Beijing’s people seriously in denial, or are they just saying this sort of thing to keep up appearances and make themselves feel better? We get a hint that they suspect, deep down, that Hong Kong’s anger might be connected with governance and political process when Wang starts talking about democracy…
…he said if Hongkongers produced a version of democracy that included violence and separatism then mainlanders would not dare develop democratic politics. [Standard]
This is a cunning and subtle spin, by Communist Party standards. He is implying that China’s leadership yearns to abandon absolute control and introduce representative government, but Hong Kong people could ruin it all, and put Mainlanders off the idea, by demanding the wrong/icky/violent sort of democracy. So it would all be Hong Kong’s fault! Naughty Hong Kong – making Chinese people prefer an oppressive and corrupt one-party dictatorship. You should all go home and feel very very guilty.
You have to hand it to Wang for sheer audacity. But the fact that he thinks this relatively ingenious and manipulative argument might work suggests that the Communists are indeed as delusional as ever.
I declare the weekend open with a public health/dubious taste warning to avoid Wanchai Road until the latest culinary nightmare is sorted out…